22 September 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 186. (Service 2009): Trotsky

Letter from Lhasa, number 186. (Service 2009): Trotsky
by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Service, R., Trotsky. A Biography, MacMillan, 2009.
(Service 2009).
Robert Service   

There is a lot of hagiographies. This work is not such and with additional advantages. 

The research on the young Leiba Bronstein and his family is of certain interest and utility. Political writers, alias political militants or para-militants, generally prefer to avoid any serious psychological evaluation. What, on the contrary, may be found here.

There is even an explicit understanding of the tricked game politics is, and “revolutionary” politics even more is: 
“Trotsky was not unusual among leading political émigrés: most of them underestimated the depth of police penetration and manipulation of their activities.”
(Service 2009, p. 73)

The Second International was basically Austro-German and also French. In the manipulation of Russian revolutionaries, there was also English interest although English have always been less bureaucratic and more agile in the manipulation of revolutionary movements. The Russian area was, in first instance, bordering and inevitably clashing with the Austrian and German influence areas. If Great Britain was growingly anxious of the German power, it should be in some way allied with France and Russia, although with some strategic vision that the today allies may become the tomorrow enemies.  

When the war came and the Second International broke up according to national lines, it was clear “internationalism” was only a tale and that the “workers’ movements” were just extensions of the relative States/“governments” (alias Secret Police Services and “bourgeoisies”).

A sight of the expensive life abroad of certainly not only Trotsky may be found, for instance, here:
“The move to Vienna put them back in touch with old friends. (...) Trotsky also renewed his acquaintance with Austrian Marxist leaders such as Victor Adler and his son Friedrich Adler. He became something of a man about town, regularly taking coffee at the Café Central. Whether he ate its famous chocolate cakes is not recorded. While drinking coffee and reading the morning newspaper, though, he could met up with all the Viennese luminaries of the day (...). Trotsky preferred central Europe to the rest of the continent. Berlin in his eyes was infinitely preferable to London, and he did not have much time for Paris; but it was Vienna that he truly loved. Only Odessa exercised a similar enchantment upon him.”
(Service 2009, p. 106-107)

Not only “the families”, “the Stalin’s robberies” and revenues from journalistic activities should have paid the bills. Nobody really helps “refugees”, and not at that level of costs, if there are not direct interests.

There is nothing epic about his reaching Switzerland from Vienna at the German declaration of war on Russia. Thanks to the author (Service 2009, p. 135-136), we see with which power networks he was in touch, despite he had no real organisation at his orders, he was not a great intellectual (not a real theoretician or scholar) but only a “brilliant” agitprop with some connection. Trotsky, not differently from a lot of other “successful” people, was just a politicking operator.

On, 19 November 1914, from the neutral Switzerland he moved to France, a Russian ally, or an enemy of the Russian enemies.    

Form a politological point of view, the “pure internationalism” of Trotsky, opposed to the more political defeatism of Lenin, may be evaluated in various ways. A subtle nationalism, naïveté, a moral or moralistic position, some contingent convenience, equidistance or equiproximity?

“The two belligerent coalitions were really fighting over markets, territory and global domination. According to Trotsky, this made it nonsense for Nasha zarya to blame everything on the German Junkers. At the same time, he could not abide Lenin’s proposal for a political campaign for Russia’s military defeat. Even many Bolsheviks who opposed the war thought this fanatical and senseless. Like Trotsky, they called for criticism of all belligerent powers at one and the same time. Trotsky prided himself on being an internationalist. To him, Lenin’s manoeuvres smacked of inverted nationalism.”
(Service 2009, p. 139)

Why did Stalin overcome Trotsky?
“Stalin was psychologically cleverer.”
(Service 2009, p. 296)

One may see or re-see in this book, the psychological and political subordination of Trotsky to “Leninism” and “Stalinism” in office (in “government”). His servility relatively to semi-Asiatic political “culture” did not pay personally as well as it did not pay for Soviet Union. Trotsky worked for creating and stabilising a despotic power and, when there were not anymore real enemies could threaten the new regime, he did nothing for people happiness instead of people bestial oppression and self-oppression.  

After the death of Lenin:
“His public self-abnegation was as extreme as it was uncharacteristic, and he was to prove idiosyncratic in his Leninism in the years ahead. Several leading supporters anyway thought his apology a tactical misjudgement: they willed him to stand proud against his adversaries in the leadership. Trotsky thought caution was required. The ascendant leaders were pleased about his contrition and allowed him to keep his seats in the Politburo and the Central Committee.”
(Service 2009, p. 324)

So, they could fry him slowly and progressively destroy him, de facto with his same cooperation. Instead of using the Army, in January 1925 Trotsky resigned as Defence Minister. He had not any more power.

Stalin later rewarded the militarist bloc transforming the whole Soviet Union in a big concentration camp functional to a permanent war economy. Was the Trotsky plan different?   

One after the other, Asiatic Russia liquidates all the western-style Soviet leaders. Asiatic Russia overcame European Russia. Stalin was the expression of the Asiatic Russia, a Tsarist without Tsar “Soviet” Russia. That “Tsars” were now formally elected through the Soviets’ system made no difference.

On 22 February 1929, he reached, against his will, Istanbul, from south to Odessa.

“The Soviet authorities had equipped him with funds to the value of US$ 1,500 to facilitate his settling abroad.” (Service 2009, p. 380). It was what actually he and his family needed for a month, despite their frugal life.

He got anyway income from his books. His book royalties financed him and his politics.

“Then on 2 February 1932 the Moscow authorities abruptly revoked his citizenship and rendered Trotsky a stateless person dependent on the mercy of Mustapha Kemal.”
(Service 2009, p. 410)

Sentenced to death in occasion of the first Moscow show trial in the summer of 1937, Trotsky was assassinated from a Stalinist agent, Ramón Mercader, in 1940. Attacked on 20 August 1940, he died the day after.  

Would a Trotsky-led Soviet Union be different? That is not really believable.

Service, R., Trotsky. A Biography, MacMillan, 2009.